by Michael Holland – 

Steve Jobs was a grand quitter.

While he was immensely successful building and running Apple, he strategically leveraged quitting.

He quit acclaimed Reed College after one semester and then dropped in periodically on creative classes at the school.  He later recounted how one course in calligraphy developed his love of typography.

He decided working at then wildly famous Atari wasn’t as important as back-packing around India.

A little bit after his “enlightenment” season, he started Apple Computer.

What is intriguing is that Steve Jobs quit to win.

When can quitting – stopping a project, stopping pursuit of the next promotion, leaving a job – be a successful strategic decision?

As a leader, you are consistently challenged with how to best allocate limited resources against projects, special initiatives, and normal work.

What may be key to your decision-making is how you massage the economic theories behind the art of your decisions, which are based on sunk costs (what’s already been expended) and opportunity costs (the potential return on the use of the resource).

The authors of Freakonomics (books, blogs, podcasts, and website) have some interesting perspective on the virtues of quitting in a podcast on the topic.

Invest your lunch hour or commute time to take a listen and gain some perspective on your career and leadership potential/impact.

Coaching Thoughts – For You and Your Peers

  • When in your life/career has quitting been successful?
  • Alternatively, when in your life/career would quitting have been the better choice?